Dedicated to raising funds and awareness
for dogs and cats diagnosed
with heart disease.

Bacterial Endocarditis

Overview, Diagnosis, and Prognosis

Bacterial Endocarditis is an uncommon infection of the heart valves and lining of the heart chambers (Eldredge, et. al., 2007). Bacteria colonize and grow on and within the heart valves; typically the aortic and/or mitral valves. The bacterial vegetations that result cause valvular leakage and eventually heart failure; small parts can also break off of the lesion and lodge in any artery in the body (“embolism”). This can result in a large number of symptoms, as listed below. While endocarditis is a treatable disease, it generally is only successful with early diagnosis and intensive therapy with intravenous antibiotics. Unfortunately, this can be a very difficult disease to diagnose, thus the disease is often at an advanced stage when discovered.


  • fever
  • shaking
  • chills
  • swollen joints
  • lameness
  • spontaneous bleeding
  • blindness
  • behavioral and personality changes
  • unstable gait
  • seizures
  • new or changing heart murmur


  • Intensive therapy with injectable antibiotics can be effective if diagnosed early.
  • Treat concurrent arrhythmias, heart failure, or extracardiac abnormalities.